New biopsy procedure helping women avoid repeat miscarriages

February 22, 2013 3:45:05 PM PST
Miscarriages can be devastating for couples who are hoping for children, and it's especially hard when a woman has repeated miscarriages. But now there's a high-tech procedure to help avoid repeat miscarriages and save parents-to-be from heartbreak.

Victoria is five months old. But at one point, her mother wasn't sure she would ever be able to have a baby. Charlotte had six miscarriages before she deliver Victoria.

"It was frustrating because you're pregnant the you're not, you're pregnant you're not," Charlotte said.

Chromosome abnormalities are one of the top reasons for miscarriages. But at Houston IVF at Memorial Hermann Memorial City, women who have had multiple miscarriages are being offered a new technology that allows infertility specialists to find the embryo most likely to survive.

"We can actually find the embryos that are chromosomally normal and only transfer the normal ones back," Houston IVF Dr. Timothy Hickman said.

They biopsy the outer cells, not the embryo itself. That makes the test less invasive and more accurate.

"It's potentially used for people with a lot of miscarriages, for women who are older and more likely to have chromosomally abnormal embryos, or they have gone through IVF several times and produced many embryos but they keep miscarrying or they don't implant," Dr. Hickman said.

It costs an extra $5,000 above the cost of in-vitro fertilization, but this biopsy procedure helping women avoid the physical and emotional strain of repeated miscarriages.

"The first 13 we did, 11 of those -- and these are women who have never had a child -- 11 already have a baby now," Dr. Hickman said.

For Charlotte, the first time she used the new procedure, all of her embryos were abnormal.

"I was actually happy in a weird way that we were able to test the 10 embryos, and unfortunately, zero were chromosomally normal. But at that same time, it saved me from having a seventh miscarriage," she said.

In her second procedure, she had one normal embryo, and that became Victoria.

Now turning 40, Charlotte is undergoing the technique again time, hoping for one more healthy baby.
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